Ancient Food and Extreme Science -- Youth Magazine Update

Eric GuilbertEric Guilbert

From history to travel, interviews to fiction -- this month's youth magazines sure have a lot of interesting stories to share!

Dig Magazine starts the party with an issue focusing entirely on the history of food. Learn about Ancient Egyptian bread baking and the history of the tortilla, as well as how to roast a whole pig. Even more fun than McDonald's!

Jack and Jill travels the world, with a look at winter holiday celebrations and life in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, as well as an interview with 16-year-old figure skater and Olympic hopeful Mirai Nagasu.

Ever heard of scientists who brave dense jungles and hang from trees to study rare insects? Ranger Rick Magazine has the whole story, along with cool pictures of animal sculptures made entirely from tin cans.

If this makes you feel like exploring the world, come on down! The library is always the best place to start.

Youth Music Notes -- A Celebration of Silliness

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As the famous commercial says, sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don't. Fortunately for those times you do feel like a nut, the youth department has a great collection of goofy, zany and downright hilarious music.

Disney's Silly Classical Songs is great place to begin the journey of silliness. All your favorite Disney characters sing along to famous pieces of classical music. You'll never hear Beethoven's Fifth the same way again. A great CD for future fans of classical music humorist P. D. Q. Bach.

Singin' In the Bathtub lets you hear comedian and author John Lithgow sing his favorite silly songs, including "At the Codfish Ball" and "From the Indies to the Andes In His Undies". These are classics of silliness, folks.

Anytime you feel your family could use more humor -- long car trips for instance -- come in and pick up a little lighthearted fun. Happy listening!

Al's Book Club for Kids: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

On Friday morning Al Roker, the beloved weather man of NBC's The Today Show, announced his latest pick for Al's Book Club for Kids: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.
"In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest."
Not only is this story a beautiful blend of traditional Chinese folklore themes and characters (keep an eye out for the fabulous talking fish!), it is also a physically beautiful book. Grace Lin's full-color illustrations throughout this tale are intricate and dazzling, and the use of multiple type faces make this journey all the more enchanting. Adult readers will appreciate Lin's author note at the end of the book, where she explains her Asian-American roots and the folktales from her childhood that continue to resonate with her today.
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Toys, Tweens, Pies and Trees -- Parent Magazine Update

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The magazines on our parent shelf are taking on the world, and they can take you along for the ride.

Parenting: School Years starts out strong with an article on how to enjoy your child's "difficult" tween years, and just keeps on swinging with a special Mom Congress report on the necessity of art education, a guide to family hapiness, and their picks for "toys of the year."

Coincidentally, Family Fun Magazine also features their Toy of the Year Awards -- number one is Klutz's "Invasion of the Bristlebots", a kit for making robots out of toothbrush heads. The magazine continues with an article on blogging as a family, a list of fun Thanksgiving activities, and five unique pie recipes for those bored with the same old pumpkin-from-a-can variety.

Gifted Child Today tackles some serious issues in their fall edition -- a guide to involving children in caring for the earth, an article by Dr. Gilman W. Whiting, director of the Scholar Identity Institute on reducing dropout rates among diverse students, and a guide to identifying signs of Asperger's syndrome-- an Autism-spectrum disorder.

If all this makes you want to roll up your sleeves and dive in, great! These great ideas and more are just a trip to the magazine rack away.

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Halloween is around the corner and that means it's time for the annual showing of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" on Wednesday, October 28th at 8pm on ABC. If you will not be able to watch it, the library also owns a few copies. The library also owns the book version. Here are a few new Halloween stories that are available in the youth collection: Boo to You!, Mystery Vine: A Pumpkin Surprise, Haunted Party, There Was an Old Monster, Pick a Pumpkin, Mrs. Millie! and J is for Jack-O-Lantern:a Halloween Alphabet. Have fun, and don't stay up too late waiting for the Great Pumpkin!

Halloween Fun!

Come to the Pittsfield Branch on Friday, October 30, 2009 at 4:00 p.m for some Halloween fun. We will make Halloween crafts that you'll be able to use as decorations for your own events on Saturday. Pumpkins, spider webs, or masks will be made in all degrees of scariness. Creating masterpieces is hard work. Cider and donuts will help keep the energy up.

This program is for preschoolers up to 5th grade. All supplies will be provided. Come for Halloween Masks and Other Scary Things and get ready for your wicked weekend!

Nonfiction Finds -- Winter Stargazing

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Expert astronomers know that in the winter the stars are clearer and brighter than they are in the summer. Several spectacular meteor showers will also take place in the upcoming months, so grab your overcoat and take advantage of the clear skies with some great nonfiction resources!

New arrival "Phases of the Moon" by Gillia Olson is a great place to start, including a list of websites for further information.

More experienced stargazers can graduate to Anton Vamplew's "Simple Stargazing" or Fran Lee's "Wishing on a Star". These guides to the constellations require no telescopes!

And once you're done and curled up with a cup of tea, you can read the stories behind the constellations with Jacqueline Mitton's "Zodiac", "Zoo in the Sky", and "Once Upon a Starry Night", all beautifully illustrated by Christina Balit.

Fear Itself

Ask OctoberAsk October

Just in time for the scariest month of the year, Ask magazine has come out with a special issue on...you guessed it... fear.

Ask magazine goes beyond the usual scary story collection, however, with an article on how the brain processes and produces fear as well as a guide to controlling and dealing with fear -- useful for kids and adults! This issue also includes the instructions for Ask's latest contest -- to design a Monster so terrifying it will frighten other monsters. Winners will get published in a future issue of Ask!

Al Capone Shines My Shoes

If your children like to listen to books, check out Al Capone Shines My Shoes, by Gennifer Choldenko. This is the sequel to the author's Newbery honor Al Capone Does My Shirts. In the new book Moose still lives on Alcatraz (his dad is a prison guard), and now gangster-prisoner Al Capone wants a favor for the help he secretly gave Moose earlier. Good listening.

Helpful and Heartwarming

BabyBaby

Get ready to have your heart warmed and your wallet emptied. The October edition of American Baby magazine is out -- featuring an article on adoption and the 2009 American Baby Best of the Year Awards.

In the article, three women talk about the experience of placing their children with adoptive families through open adoption, which enables the birth mother to choose the adoptive family and stay in contact with them after the adoption takes place. This year's Amby award honors such useful products as Boppy as well as the interestingly named Boudreaux's Butt Paste.

Also included in this issue are a baby naming guide to help you overcome common pitfalls, and a "cough decoder" to help you diagnose your child by sound.

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